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Is the US Losing the Fight Against Drugs?

Recent studies show that across all demographics, genders, and generations drug use is on the rise in the United States.  The use of drugs in the US has reached alarming levels—whether it be heroin use, marijuana use, prescription drugs or other substances.  Interestingly, the media has taken ahold of the rise in drug abuse and is constantly publicizing awful outcomes, yet US society seems not to notice or to be changing their behaviors in response to these preventative tactics.

Although drugs are illegal and a lot of drug use is unreported, there are some factual statistics that prove that the drug problem is increasing in the US.  For instance, Quest Diagnostics, a provider of employee drug testing, “reported in September of 2015 that the percentage of employees testing positive for drugs had reached a 10-year high. This was based on an analysis of nearly 11 million drug test results, in which 4 percent of urine tests were positive, an increase of 2.6 percent from 2014. In oral drug testing, there was a positive test increase of 47 percent over the previous three years, and positive urine tests for heroin have increased 146 percent since 2011. (Further), in 2014, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reported that an estimated 24.6 million Americans over the age of 12 had used an illicit drug during the last month. This accounted for 9.4 percent of the demographic, which is an increase from 8.3 percent in 2002. (Also), according to the U.N.’s World Drug Report 2016, the amount of heroin users in the United States hit a 20-year high. The number of heroin users in the U.S. reached near one million in 2014, representing a three-fold increase from 2003.  Heroin-related deaths have increased five-fold since 2000. (And last,) since 1999, the number of drug overdose deaths involving opioids in the U.S. has quadrupled, totaling over a half a million fatalities during that period” (www.unityrehab.com).

It seems that the US is somewhat feeling defeated in the fight against drugs when examining all of the statistical data.  Although some new programs in prevention and treatment are being utilized, there seems to be so much more to solving this problem.  Hopefully with increased research efforts, development of improved counseling and prevention tactics, and overall fighting back against addiction, the US can begin to see things turn around and start to win the fight against drugs.

Sources:

1       http://newsroom.questdiagnostics.com/2016-09-15-Drug-Positivity-in-U-S-Workforce-Rises-to-Nearly-Highest-Level-in-a-Decade-Quest-Diagnostics-Analysis-Finds

2       https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/nationwide-trends

3       http://www.reuters.com/article/us-drugs-usa-heroin-idUSKCN0Z90UX

4       http://www.unodc.org/wdr2016/

5       http://www.monitoringthefuture.org/pressreleases/16ESPADpr.pdf